Tortilla and Black Bean Pie

This is a wonderful, completely filling No Meat Monday.  What makes this even better, there are so many things you can add, adjust.  The possibilities are endless! Add a touch of enchilada sauce to each layer.  Or, add a thin layer of refried beans. Can’t hang without your meat?  Go ahead, add some!  Use corn tortillas.  For an extra fresh, crisp taste, top with sour cream, shredded lettuce and diced tomato.  Don’t forget the avocado!

Ingredients:

4 10″ flour tortillas (or slightly smaller, see below)
2 Tbs olive oil
1 large onion diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp Mexican Blend seasoning (Such as Morton & Bassett)
Coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, drained and rinsed (always check sodium levels, even “low sodium” can be quite high)
12 oz beer, or 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth (I used Corona, but any would do)
1 (10 oz) pkg frozen corn
1 jalapeño chile, minced (remove seeds and ribs for less heat) optional
4 scallions, thinly sliced, optional
2 ½ cups Mexican blend cheese

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400.  While oven heats, drain and rinse beans.   If using 10″ tortilla, grab a paring knife and trim down to fit spring form pan.  Use the bottom of the pan as a guide.  I used a slightly small tortilla because it’s what I had on hand.  Even though there was some extra space on the sides, the smaller tortillas worked just fine.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat.  Add onion, garlic, jalapeño (if using), and Mexican blend seasoning.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (5-7 minutes).

Add beans, beer (or vegetable broth), bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium, simmer until liquid has almost evaporated (8-10 minutes).  Stir in corn and scallions (if using) and remove from heat.  Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.

Place tortilla in bottom of springform pan; layer with ¼ of bean mixture and ½ cup of cheese.  Repeat three times, using 1 cup of cheese on top layer.  Bake until heated through and cheese melts, 20-25 minutes.  Remove side of pan, sprinkle with scallions (optional).  Slice into wedges to serve.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Albariño
Zinfandel

Tortilla & Black Bean Pie

Tortilla & Black Bean Pie

*Derived from Everyday Food


Mexican Stuffed Shells

I decided to try something a little different for Taco Tuesday, combining my love for Mexican and Italian food. Seriously, what is not to love about this concept? Rich spicy flavor in the meat and sauce. Stuffed into pasta. Let me say that again for affect, stuffed INTO pasta. The spicy gooyness of the meat, stuffed into the delicate pasta shell. This truly seems like a dish that was invented for me! And I welcomed it with open arms!

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef (or any meat of your choosing, can even go with something similar to soyrizo for vegetarians)
4 Tbs Morton & Basset Mexican Blend seasoning (this is truly my Go-To Mexican flavor. Do not waste your time with taco seasoning packets.)
1/2 cup cream cheese (I used plain, but you could play around with this and use flavored cream cheese, such as sun-dried tomato, garlic and herb, maybe even a garden vegetable)
14-16 jumbo pasta shells
1 1/2 cup salsa (I always use fresh whenever I can and the deli section of my local market helps me achieve that)
1 cup taco sauce (this will be a smooth, tomato based sauce with varying degrees of heat, found in the Mexican section)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
*Additional toppings such as sliced green onions, tomatoes, lettuce, olives, and / or sour cream (this is the chance to get creative, even add jalapeños!)

Preparation:

Start large pot of water to boil.  In frying pan, brown meat, add the Mexican Blend seasoning and 1 ¹⁄³ cups of water.  Let the water cook down by about half.  Add cream cheese and simmer until cheese has melted, stirring occasionally.  Set aside to cool.  While meat is cooking, add pasta shells to water and cook according to package directions.  Drain pasta shells and set out individually on flat surface so they don’t stick together.

Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Pour salsa on bottom of dish.  Stuff each shell with the meat mixture and place open side up in baking dish.  Cover shells with taco sauce.  Cover dish with foil and back for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and add shredded cheese; bake for 10-15 more minutes until cheese is golden brown.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Beaujolais
Malbec
Merlot
Syrah / Shiraz
Zinfandel

Serves 4

Total time: About an hour

Mexican Stuffed Shells

Mexican Stuffed Shells

*Derived from The Way to His Heart

Mini Meat Loaves

A few awesome things about these mini meat loaves: 1) they are mini, so everyone gets their own personal meat loaf, which is key if you are 5 and 6 years old; 2) you can even kind of make them to order, as far as the toppings go since they are pretty small, and; 3) the cook so much faster than your grandmother’s meat loaf.  The pasta sauce, basil, and cheese really made these tasty.  Add a nice green vegetable (such as the roasted asparagus with parmesan cheese that I did) and you’ve got the start of a quick and filling meal.

Ingredients:

1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup prepared marinara sauce
½ cup Italian style bread crumbs
2 Tbs Gourmet Garden basil paste (one of the best inventions ever)
1 lb lean ground beef (can use turkey, chicken, etc)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ tsp salt

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450°.  In a large bowl, combine egg, 1/2 cup marinara sauce, bread crumbs, basil paste, and salt.  Add beef and 1/2 cup of cheese; using hands, mix well.  Divide mixture into four equal parts.  Shape into a small loaf.  Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Spoon remaining marinara sauce over the top of each and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake 15 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160°

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Barbera
Chianti
Merlot
Petit Sirah
Syrah / Shiraz
Zinfandel

Serves: 4 large helpings (or 6 smaller servings)

Total time: 25 minutes

Mini Meat Loaves

Mini Meat Loaves

*Original Serves-4 Recipe

Layered Beef Enchiladas

Sometimes it can really be tough to cook food for someone from their native country.  The flavors and texture have to be what they are used to, what they grew up with.  For a lot of people, food has so much meaning and can transport them back to their childhood, which for me personally, is my goal.  And I want to create those memories for my kids.  It does not, however, always work.  I thought this dish was good, maybe not the absolute best I’ve ever done (after all, it’s not salmon) but certainly good.  My littlest foodies thought it was too spicy.  The Hubs didn’t like it at all.  Wouldn’t even eat it.  He and the kids had quesadillas.  And I get it, he’s from Mexico and this was enchilada sauce from a can.  I’m sure, compared to home cooking, well, I’m sure there IS no comparison.  Suffice it to say, no memories were created and no one was transported back to their childhood.  And me? I’m now on the hunt for a quick, yet simple, enchilada sauce I can make and use during the week that will hold up to the memory.  Or will make some new ones.

Ingredients:

1 lb lean ground beef
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs Morton & Bassett Mexican Blend seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 (10 oz) cans preferred enchilada sauce
10 (6 inch) corn tortillas
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
Sour cream (optional)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375.  In large nonstick skillet, brown ground beef, onions, and garlic until beef is thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently.  Drain.  Add Mexican blend seasoning, salt, and pepper, mix well.  Remove from heat.

Pour 1 can enchilada sauce in bottom of ungreased 13×9 glass baking dish.  Arrange 5 tortillas in dish, overlapping slightly.  Spoon beef mixture evenly over tortillas, sprinkle with half of the cheese; top with remaining 5 tortillas.  Pour remaining can of enchilada sauce over top.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes or until thoroughly heated.  Serve with sour cream.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:   
Cabernet Franc
Chianti
Grenache
Merlot
Sangiovese
Zinfandel

Serves 6
Prep time: 20 minutes; Total time: 45 minutes

photo (5)*Derived from Pillsbury